October 31, 2008

M. Soccer Takes Aim at Princeton

Print More

After Tuesday’s scheduled game against Hartwick College was cancelled due to inclement weather, the men’s soccer team now has just three games remaining in its 2008 campaign, all three of which are Ivy League games. The Red (1-12, 0-4 Ivy) is the only team in the Ivy League without a conference win and will be looking for a change of fortune tomorrow, as Princeton (4-9-1, 1-2-1) comes to Berman Field for a 4:30 p.m. matchup.
[img_assist|nid=33167|title=Hi-diddly-ho|desc=Senior defender Dana Flanders said that the team has been working hard, but just hasn’t gotten the results it wants.|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]
2008 has been mostly disappointing for the Red players, as they have struggled on both the offensive and defensive ends. Senior defender Dana Flanders explained that he and his teammates have no one to blame for their lack of success other than themselves.
“We have been working really hard in practice,” Flanders. “I think in a couple of games we have gotten unlucky here or there, but when it comes down to it, we just haven’t been good enough. On both sides of the ball, going forward and going defensively, we just haven’t been good enough as a team.”
Head coach Bryan Scales and assistant coaches Joe Schneck and Nenad Zigante have been working hard with the players in practices and in games all season long, and no one has given up even though the team has just one win. The coaches and players realize that they just haven’t been able to transfer all the things that they have been working on in practice into their games, both offensively and defensively.
“I think it is pretty simple,” Schneck said. “If you can’t score goals, it puts a whole lot of pressure on your back line. With that amount of pressure, you are due to give up goals. I think it is a combination of things. It’s not getting timely finishing — it’s not that we haven’t had chances, it’s finishing at the right moments in games. Obviously, it’s about being able to limit teams to a few chances a game, and that hasn’t happened that well for us and that is how you end up losing games.”
Princeton has also got off to a sub-par start in Ivy League play, earning its only Ivy win of the year on Oct. 18 against Columbia. The Tigers are coming to Berman Field after dropping their most recent game, a 2-0 loss to Harvard last Saturday in Princeton, N.J.
The Tigers haven’t had any dominant offensive stars this season but have scored their 16 goals by committee. A total of eight different players on the Princeton roster have found the back of the net, including a group of three underclassmen that have scored three or more goals.
Sophomore forward Brandon Busch, who will surely be one of the physically smallest players to take the field at just 5-3, has notched a team-leading four goals this year. Busch was second on the team in points his freshman year with eight, and in 2008 he picked up right where he left off. Freshman midfielder Antoine Hoppenot and sophomore defender Josh Walburn have both scored three goals of their own.
However, the Red players, as they have maintained all year, believe that their own execution on both sides of the ball will be more important than any adjustments they would make for Princeton. Flanders explained that, regardless of what he and his teammates hope to do or plan to do tomorrow, the only statements of actual importance are the statements that will be made by the Red’s on-field play.
“It’s partly our execution,” he said. “We have been letting in some soft goals at inopportune times, and on the other end we just haven’t been scoring when we have had good opportunities. Those are things that we just have to go out and do them. We have to stop talking about them and go out and actually execute on the field.”